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Adele Maciute on board a ship in the Arctic.
Adele Maciute on an expedition in the Arctic collecting animals from the bottom of the Svalbard´s fjords.

Adele Maciute recieves Dyrssen Award for best marine Master's thesis


Adele Maciute recently started a PhD position at the Department of Marine Sciences. Now, she receives the Dyrssen Award 2020 for the best Master thesis. In her thesis, Adele Maciute takes a deeper look at nematodes - the most abundant animals on Earth – and their role in the Baltic Sea ecosystem.

What is your master thesis about? 

"My thesis is about nematode worms, the most abundant animals on Earth. They are adapted to live in essentially all habitats including extreme environments such as oxygen deprived sediment. It is, however, challenging to study nematodes due to their minute size. As a result, we don’t have even basic information about nematodes such as its respiration rate."

"Thus, the overarching goal of my MSc project was to construct and describe the incubation system that can be used for measuring respiration of single microscopic animals, called meiofauna. These animals are larger than 0.04 millimeter but smaller than 1 millimeter. With the help of this method I investigated variation in respiration rates among nematodes and for the first time quantified how much nematodes contribute to the total respiration at the bottom of the Baltic Sea."

What do you do now? 

"I have recently started my PhD at the University of Gothenburg under the supervision of Stefano Bonaglia. My PhD thesis revolves around meiofauna diversity and contribution to the marine sediment functioning. Thus, I am sure that the method described in my master will be useful in determining the role of meiofauna in a range of ecosystems."

How will you use the prize of 10 000 SEK?  

"I would like to invest in my new hobby - open source electronic projects. For example, one of my goals is to improve current nematode incubation system by getting high precision stepper motors so that I could make automated respiration measurements."

"In addition, I am eager to take kitesurfing lessons here in Göteborg and so to take the best out of living on the west coast of Sweden!"

Finally, how does it feel to get the award? 

"Just like any of other MSc student, I faced many challenges throughout my project. Thus, after receiving the nomination letter, I feel even more motivated and encouraged to continue working in spite of difficulties that are yet to come."

"In addition, I feel truly grateful to my MSc thesis supervisors at Stockholm University: Stefano Bonaglia, Francisco Nascimento, Oleksandr Holovachov and Elias Broman."

Dyrssen Awardees 2020

Adele Maciute (1st price) for the thesis Oxygen respiration rates by aquatic nematodes.

Monica Tenorio de Figueiredo Gabell (2nd price) for the thesis Seasonal changes in habitat use by fishes within a shallow tropical seascape.

Emelie Rietz (honorary mention) for the thesis Evaluation of Sentinel-2 and RapidEye imagery for measurements of submerged aquatic vegetation.

Anna Lunde Hermansson (honorary mention) for the thesis Solubility of calcium carbonate – Development of methods to measure dissolution of CaCO3 minerals.

THE DYRSSEN AWARD was initiated by the Swedish Society for Marine Sciences SHF in honor of David Dyrssen (1922 - 2011), emeritus professor of analytical chemistry at the University of Gothenburg. The price ceremony takes place at the Society's Annual meeting 2020 on December 16th. Due to the current pandemic, the meeting will be arranged digitally via Zoom, but there will also be limited opportunities to participate on site in Gothenburg.